Howard Hughes and the World’s Fastest Land Plane

Howard Hughes and the World’s Fastest Land Plane


It’s 1935 and you have all the money in
the world and want to build the world’s fastest land plane, what would it look like? It would look like this. Howard Hughes, the famous film producer and
entrepreneur, was very much involved in aviation as well. And he decided he wanted to
set the absolute record for a land-based aircraft. With his money, he went about and did it. The Hughes Racer is a very sleek airplane despite the fact that it has an air-cooled engine, which
produces a lot of drag. Howard Hughes was absolutely obsessed with low drag. It has a
beautiful, bell-shaped cowling around it that streamlined the airflow, cooled the
engines, and just greatly reduced the drag of the airplane. The fuselage is made out of
duraluminum, which is aluminum alloy. It is beautifully put together. The wings
interestingly are not made out of metal, they’re made out of wood, because the
designers at that time felt that they could get a more accurate airfoil
shape by using wood and carefully sanding it and resanding it and varnishing it. The racer does feature
retractable landing gear. It didn’t pioneer that style but it was certainly
one of the first aircraft to incorporate it. The workmanship on this
aircraft is so good that when the landing gear is retracted, you cannot see
the seam lines between the gear and the wing. Much like most of Howard Hughes’ career, about everything he touched worked extremely well and this is a perfect example of that.

3 thoughts on “Howard Hughes and the World’s Fastest Land Plane”

  1. Iconic plane. Amazing still today. Not only did Howard Hughes help build it he was also the test pilot before he broke the record. You won't see a wealthy person do that today. Thanks for the upload. Not

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